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After cancer diagnosis, amateur MMA fighter faces most grueling challenge yet

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:19 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2021 at 5:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kailua native Sean Day has been an amateur mixed martial artist for the last 10 years. He first picked up the sport when he was bullied for his autism.

“He’s always been into other sports, like he’s a paddler and a surfer,” said Cromwell Day, Sean’s father. “But the martial arts was what finally gave him that kind of, something that was different than all our other kids did.”

And Sean Day learned the fight game quickly, claiming kickboxing titles in three different weight classes under the direction of his coach and uncle Martin Day.

“When he won his first belt, he was 18 years old, but he’s been able to make quite a name for himself in the kickboxing circuit,” Martin Day said.

Sean Day hopes to eventually fight professionally.

But last week, he and his family noticed something was wrong.

“Major headache and vomiting all week long and we thought maybe he was just severely dehydrated, but he never got out of bed and just kept getting worse,” said Sean’s mother, Davina.

Tests revealed the 22-year-old has advanced testicular cancer, which developed rapidly.

“It’s basically spread into a lot of areas of his body,” Cromwell Day said. “He’s got tumors in his lungs and around the back of his head and kind of sketchy areas against his brain.”

Sean is now in the intensive care unit undergoing radiation treatment and is on track to begin chemotherapy next week.

“When he got the news about the tumors that were on his brain, he looked at me and said ‘does this mean I have to retire from fighting now, mom?,’” Davina Day said.

“I don’t think so Sean, it’s a speed bump, but that was the first thing that came to his mind.”

There is room for optimism as doctors say that his type of cancer is treatable and has a fairly high survival rate.

Coach Day is spearheading fundraising efforts to cover costs for treatment.

“He’s a super strong kid and like my brother said, it has a high recovery rate and stuff and we’re hoping for the best,” Martin Day said.

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